After 31 years of marriage we have finally decided to get some health insurance to help pay for some running repairs on both of our aging bodies. Of course as soon as I had a conversation with Danelle about this, my next visit to Facebook saw me instantly pushed a number of ads right up that alley – ‘compare the market’ wanted my business as did a couple of others. And once I had clicked on one of those ads and confirmed my genuine interest in this subject my newsfeed was littered with all manner of ad for these products!
I know some people find that creepy and intrusive. I find it quite helpful – saves me a lot of time googling. However what I have noticed over the last few years has been a consistent peppering of ads that essentially ask ‘Do i have a retirement plan? And do I have enough money to fund that plan?’
When you’re 57 and largely self employed its a good question and one that Danelle I have spoken about at length. It seems the Zuckerberg ears have tuned in to that conversation and hence we are now fed ads trying to stir us to action with retirement funds. And funnily enough – it worked! I have a small amount of superannuation and def not enough to live on so I actually paid for and downloaded a book entitled Superannuation Made Simple to try and come to grips with the subject. I have to say, its one of the most dishonest titles I have come across. I stopped about halfway when I realised I was lost (and also completely disinterested.)
But it seems to be the question that marketers want to send my way. What is your plan for the next stage of your life? With the implication being; if you haven’t managed to squirrel away enough $$ into an interest bearing fund then you could be in BIG trouble. It’s tapping the fear nerve and asking ‘what if?…’ What if at this stage of your life everything turns to custard?
As people of faith we believe that God leads us, guides us and cares for us, so we genuinely trust that he will provide – whatever that looks like. But what I’ve noticed as I’ve got older is the temptation to ‘sure things up myself’ just in case he doesn’t come thru this time round.
Funnily enough as I was in the midst of these ruminations I was reading second Samuel – the end parts of David’s life and I couldn’t help but note how the book has been edited. As someone in the throes of editing a book I am now very conscious of where I locate certain stories and pieces of information. In this book chapter 23 tells the story of ‘David’s mighty men’ – stories of great victories with the implication being that God did some big things in the past as David led a small group of committed courageous men. It’s not a very PC list and it is extremely violent – but such were the times. What I noticed though is that immediately after these stories of courageous faith in Ch 24, is the story of David counting his army – something he later regrets and sees as a sin.
Why significant? Because here in his old age it seems David is tempted to bet his money on a large strong army rather than the God who had taken care of him in his younger years. In this time he isn’t going out to fight any more and he is possibly wondering if God is still with him as he once was… ‘Will I have enough to see me thru to the close of play?’
I don’t want to overreach with the story, but it certainly spoke to me as someone who is nearing the home straight. We can certainly speak to God’s faithfulness all thru our life and we can speak of various adventures we have been involved with where we simply trusted that the $$ would add up – and they did.
But will God still take care of us in our older years?… Should we listen to the marketers and make sure we build up a healthy super fund – just in case?…
Why is that even a question? I feel like David moved his focus off the God who had always guided him and to the very human question of ‘do I have enough?’ I know I have become more risk averse with finances as a result of a rather disastrous investment 12 years ago, but my hope for this stage of life is to keep listening to the call and to do what we are asked whether it appears to pay the bills or not. If that means we live a bit leaner for a while then so be it.
Our younger years were peppered with adventures – some spirit led – some we thought were spirit led but maybe it was just my own ego… My hope is that the next 30 years will be peppered even more with breathtaking adventure as we listen to ‘the call’, rather than focussing on the bank balance and letting that be our guide.
Those stories spoke to me so perhaps they will touch a nerve in you too. Is it time to start playing it safe?…
This is a great thought – there are so many more ways that God can and does provide for our needs than only financial wealth, contrary to the narrative society and esp investment/retirement types tend to encourage us to focus on.
We do the natural (save, budget, plan). God does the supernatural.
We’ve always subscribed to the adage: Can we live with the worst case scenario?
Over the years, we’ve had some very successful years and then had some very lean years. Once, we sold everything by faith and decided to be ‘poor pastors’.
That didn’t work out as planned.
Not having much money when you’re young is different to when you’re older. We bounced back and went off on a different path.
In every situation, we do our best to be wise stewards of what we’ve been given/what we’re responsible for.
Giving has always been part of our budget, no matter whether it was a little or a lot.
So, I would say you are not being faithless if you explore wise ways to manage your retirement. You are planning, by faith, that you will have years ahead to enjoy, to contribute to others, and to follow God’s purposes for your lives.
Covid has taught us that life is a risk. We never know what is coming. Prepare as if you will live forever (on Earth) and live as if this is your last day.
I retire on March 31 so this has been a very current topic. In our earlier investigations ten years ago, financial advisors were saying you needed a million to fund retirement. But what became evident was that they were assuming a type of lifestyle, which had nothing to do with us. We too live the adventures and we too continue to discern the direction of God. Great piece.
Hi Paul – great to hear! Enjoy the next phase 🙂